By Bill Sullivan
PLACERVILLE, CA (5-9-11) – It’s been nearly two decades since he raced on the tight bullring at Placerville Speedway when the World of Outlaws last competed on the quarter mile clay oval nestled in the Sierra Foothills. This Saturday night the nationally known driver that hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico will make a rare appearance during the fifth Red Hawk Casino, Hoosier Racing Tires-Coors Light Championship season.
Best known for his success with the Outlaws tour, Herrera is now focused on the 2011 American Sprint Car Series (ASCS) championship title. The tour will compete at Placerville Speedway for a two day appearance at the conclusion of July and Saturday will mark the first time Herrera returns to the speedway since the early 1990’s
“It’s been a long time since I have been out there, it was during the last Outlaw race there,” said Herrera. “I remember a little bit about it. I remember it was a tight little track with high banks into the hill and it was really fast. I’m really looking forward to coming back out there.”
Herrera, 44, will be behind the wheel of the #35a sprint car fielded by Harold and Janet Main out of Grass Valley. This season Herrera and Main have teamed together to compete in the ASCS National Tour. Routinely Herrera runs the #45x in the ASCS tour. Saturday night he will be behind the wheel of the same car he will compete in this July and will get a feel of the lightning fast bullring once again.
Highlights of Herrera’s racing career include a Rookie of the Year title in the World of Outlaws tour in 1986. As of 2009 he had 12 feature victories in the tour. In 1991 he was named the Most Improved Driver Award. In 1991 Herrera won the track championship at the famed Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, IA. He captured the nationally known Kings Royal in 1996, earning a winners purse of $50,000 after leading all 30 laps of the affair.
In 2002 and 2003 Herrera teamed up with former NASCAR Crew Chief Billy Wilburn and drove the popular #2W sprint car in the preliminary feature race at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He raced a number of non winged sprint car in the all areas of the United States and won the Roger McCluskey Classic at Tuscon USA Raceway. He was also the series champion in 2007 in the SCOA Winged Sprint Car Series in Arizona and won the season title in the Hollywood Hills Speedway Non Winged Class the same year.
In 2009, Herrera raced for car owners Larry and Lori Woodward at Knoxville Raceway in the 410 sprint class. Now, Herrera is focusing on adding a new title to his record, the Lucas Oil ASCS National Series.
“We planned this trip earlier in the year when I teamed up with Harold and Janet Main,” added Herrera. “We have a great relationship as I focus on this ASCS deal. For the national races out west Harold lets be run his equipment and we run my number for the points. He has good equipment and I love working with him. I’m looking forward to coming out there for a few races and meeting some of the fans we haven’t seen in a long time.”
As Herrera joins the roster for Saturday’s race he will be in the midst of an early season championship chase that has really begun to heat up. Andy Forsberg of Auburn leads the Placerville championship standings by just 12-points. Sitting right behind the defending champion is Placerville’s Jimmy Trulli. Sitting in the third spot is Placerville resident Scott Russell. Russell is two points behind Trulli. Sitting fourth is Fair Oak’s Chad Compton who is just 15-points out of the lead.
The Sprint Cars will be joined Saturday by the Dirt Solutions Limited Late Model Series as they compete on Autism Awareness Night in their division. So far in the weekly tour of this division Thomas Arbogast of Auburn leads the standings by a three point advantage over defending champion Dan Brown Jr. of Grass Valley. Matt Davis of Auburn sits three points back in the third position. Les Friend of Galt is fourth, 10-points from the lead. Doug Grandboise of Jackson rounds out the top five in this division.
The Pure Stock division at Placerville has veteran driver Burney McClure of Nevada City at the top of the point standings after last Saturday night. McClure is three points ahead of two time winner Clarence Holbrook III of Galt while Rick Grunert of Woodland is third over Scott Grunert and Dennis Armstrong of El Dorado who rounds out the top five, just 12 points away from the leader.
Saturday night the colorful coupes of the Nor Cal Dwarf Car Association will join the three track regulars at Placerville. In this division look for all the division regulars to bring their three wide pedal to the metal competition to the high banked clay oval at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.
The grandstands at Placerville Speedway will open up once again at 5 p.m. on Saturday night. Qualifying begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by heat races at 7. Adult tickets will be $13, Juniors and Seniors will be $11, Children $6. Those five and under will be admitted for free. All seating at Placerville Speedway is first come-first serve at 5 p.m. Learn more about Saturday’s event at www.placervillespeedway.com. It’s all happening at Placerville Speedway, where more than one million fans have entertained with fast and furious dirt track racing all summer long since 1965.